With globalization and the internet, there is less stuff to bring back from Paris that you truly can’t find back home, especially if you have a Trader Joes in the neighborhood. Here are a few things though that you might pick up at any little market in France that aren’t as easily or cheaply found back home.
This list courtesy of Food & Wine:
VANILLA SUGAR – Packets of this French housewife’s staple
can be found in the baking section of the supermarket. It’s
great sprinkled on French toast, over fruit tarts, or in cafe au lait.
PEPPERCORNS – French supermarkets sell white and mixed
(pink, green, white and black) peppercorns in disposable mills.
LENTILLES DUPUY – I love these tiny green lentils from the
remote Auvergne because they keep their shape when cooked.
They are especially good simmered in wine with garlic sausage.
FLAGEOLETS – These pale green dried beans shaped like a
fingernail go with roast lamb like jelly goes with peanut butter.
DIJON MUSTARD – The mustard made for the U.S. market
lacks the nose-assaulting bite of the stuff sold in France.
MAYONNAISE – French mayonnaise often comes in tubes; it’s not
sweet like the American version and tastes more like homemade.
BOUQUETS GARNIS – The herbs essential
for pot au-feu and boeuf bourguignon (parsley,
bay leaf and thyme) come dried in sachets that
look like tea bags, so they’re easy to remove.
HERBES DE PROVENCE – This blend of
dried thyme, rosemary, summer savory and bay
leaves is used in Provenqal stews and grilled
foods. It’s amazingly hard to find in the U.S.
HERB AND TEAS Some of my favorites are
verveine (verbena), tilleul (linden blossom) and
fraise-cassis (strawberry and black currant).